Book Review: Investigations in the Classroom, Bk 227/06/2018
Science Investigations for the Classroom, Book 2, propagates a series of books dedicated to providing practical support for students over the age of twelve, and their teachers, for any science topic. The copyright license is generous enough to provide teachers with the capacity to copy individual pages, to allow for targeted unit planning or one-off lessons, or produce classroom resources for reuse. The whole book also works as a student workbook.
With this in mind, the layout is plain, uncluttered and functional, with black and white pictures, tables and annotations. Although designed as a resource for a whole term, it would be easily adapted to shorter units of work, or topical lessons with focussed activities.
The activities all focus on computer-based tasks and investigations that can be completed any time, anywhere a student has internet access. Interwoven within each activity is the development of critical thinking skills: defining aims, method and evaluation criteria; collecting data, and assessing it against these to draw valid, supported conclusions. This fully supports the Nature of Science and Scientific Competencies with a focal narrative on collecting information and assessing it for its validity.
The activities are leveled with Beginner, Developer, and Expert levels defined by What? How? And Why? Questions, respectively.
“In a world of fake news, information overload and crowd mentality, this book will help your students learn how to pick out the valid data from the misinformation and to reach their own independent conclusions.”
Many of the activities require support from the teacher, allowing for deeper engagement and communication as a scaffolding of process is developed. However, there are sufficient opportunities to use one-off activities to offset this, if time is a limited commodity.
Overall, this series presents a useful resource that teachers can use to augment their programmes, or explore more deeply over a longer period. Either way, the focal skill-set being developed in Science Investigations for the Classroom, Book 2, is critical to growth of a logical scientific approach, or the day to day navigational skills required by students in the increasingly chaotic modern world of information.